An already impressively strong Vikings defense got a lot stronger on Sunday because CBs Chris Cook and Cedric Griffin made their returns to the lineup after battling back from knee injuries. As a result, the Vikings secondary played perhaps its best game of the short season.
Griffin injured his knee during last year’s NFC Championship Game and aggressively rehabbed the injury to the point where he wanted to be on the field at the commencement of training camp. The Vikings decided against that move but Griffin continued his hard work and was able to come back earlier than anyone anticipated.
Cook injured his knee at the end of the preseason and was forced to sit out the team’s first 2 regular season games. But he, too, worked hard to get back and made his return on Sunday along with Griffin. The ultimate result was a much deeper Vikings CB corps and a stronger secondary overall.
“Great to have those two guys back,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said after the game. “It’s nice to have two bigger bodies in there. I know that Cedric contested a couple of passes, and Chris had a nice breakup. They’ll only get better and better as they get back into that football shape and practicing potentially as starters.”
Neither Griffin nor Cook were stars of the game so to speak, but as Childress pointed out they both had impact plays and their presence in the lineup added depth to the position and also made players around them better. I was told by someone after the game that S Husain Abdullah had his best game of the season and my sense is that it could have something to do with both Cook and Griffin being in the lineup.
Following the victory over Detroit, both Cook and Griffin spoke with reporters in the locker room and sounded like guys who approached their rehab the correct way and were also thrilled to be back in the action.
“When you take time away from the game, you learn a bit more,” Griffin explained. “Your awareness is heightened, you gain appreciation for the game and that’s what I did. I appreciate this game and I love this game. I’m glad my teammates supported me and the coaches allowed me to get back into practice and get up to speed and get back out here for the Lions.”
Cook spoke about battling an injury early in his 1st season as a pro.
“It did hurt mentally to get hurt early on but I’m a confident guy and I didn’t let it kill my confidence,” the rookie CB said. “I just looked at it as a minor setback with a major comeback. I just worked as hard as I can to get back.”
As I stated above, the Vikings defense was already a strong unit without Cook and Griffin in the lineup. But there’s no doubt that the defense is even better with both CBs on the field. It’ll be interesting to see if the presence of Cook and Griffin in the lineup will alter how assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier schemes and strategizes.
Tags: Cedric Griffin, Chris Cook, Leslie Frazier
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